Sorry, no rose showdown today. I did not think my nose could handle it, as neither of the fragrances in the showdown is, if you will, a shy flower. I thought about wearing something comforting and safe, like Theorema, but I am about done with my winter perfumes, even if the weather today (cold, grey, sky spitting tiny bits of frozen precipitation) demands it. Enter, the powdery fragrance. I almost picked up Etro Heliotrope, but then I remembered I had this sample of Tann Rokka Aki.
The notes in Aki are amber, cedarwod, patchouli, and vetiver. The top is almost unbearably sweet and powdery. In college I lived in a dorm full of music and art majors, and the top notes in Aki remind me of the smell of the hallways just after the dinner hour on Thursday and Friday nights: baby powder and incense, that weird mixture of innocence and seduction as we girls prepared for a night out, going to see a band or look for a party and always, always to look for someone to love, for a night or for a lifetime. Up and down the corridors girls would go in and out of open doors, borrowing clothes, sneaking beers, asking each other advice, waiting on boyfriends or friends or phone calls from boyfriends or friends. Music poured into the halls and out open windows (my dorm, built in the 1920s, had stuffy radiant heaters and no air conditioning, so windows were always open, even if just a little). I had not thought much about those times in a very long while, until I smelled this today.
After about thirty minutes, Aki begins to lose some of its sweetness, and it feels like night coming on, the patchouli moving across the amber twilight like a darkening sky, the vetiver lighting it up softly here and there like stars. This phase is decidedly more grown-up than the opening, and easier to wear overall, even though I did enjoy the trip down memory lane that the opening notes provided. Aki is pretty and uncomplicated, like youth is or should be, but unfortunately I find it a tad expensive ($185 for 100ml) for what it finally offers. Still, I haven't encountered anything else like it really, and it's got to be cheaper than an actual ticket to go back in time. Can you imagine what that might cost?
*image from Luckyscent